Tracking video of Muntjac, Roe and Fallow
Once again on this weekends tracking course Jason took his group out to identify some track traps. A track trap is a perfect starting point when coming to new ground to assess what animals are in the woodlands as it is a place that will naturally funnel activity through it. This particular track trap was a series of runs all culminating in a crossing point and there was clear evidence of Muntjac, Roe and Fallow all using the same trail. There was also evidence of Hare.
We brushed out all the tracks to give us a time stamp of when any animals had passed, both ground tracks and ariel spore… and then set the camera to test ourselves. The following morning we returned and could clearly identify that there were tracks of Muntjac and Roe, with possible fallow… lets see what happened.
First of all you will notice a Muntjac Muntiacus Reevesi Doe- The diamond shape on the head with two little points either side clearly identifies her as female (15 seconds into the video), also the hairless ears are indicative of the species, as she walks accross at 20 seconds note the pig like stature and the tail at the back. This tail will flash verticle upright exposing and +85 flairing the white caudal patch when she is alarmed. Almost like a big Stop Sign, where she is trying to make herself bigger and more of a threat. If you see a raised tail running away from you like this you know it has to be a Muntjac. Note also at 20 seconds the direct register of the rear front into the front foot on her right, this direct register is still the same despite a small increase in speed at 28 seconds.
The next animal to come along is at 10 minutes to 01:00 in the morning, and its a beautiful Fallow Dama Dama Dama buck that is less than one year old. How can we tell this? Well, we know it is fallow straight away from the shape and colour of the tail and caudal patch. We know it is male as you can clearly see the penile tassel, and this will be visible from the day it is born. It is important to not mistake the tail for the sheath when viewed in poor light conditions from the rear as the tail can hang low. However if it was an adult male you would expect in October to see him in his full glory of a full set of Palmated Antlers, however this fella has only a small set of single tines, and these are slightly curved outwards (you’ll need to pause the video to see this). In the second year you would expect a brow tine which cannot be seen on this guy. So we can say this is a young male less than 1 year old.
Note also here the dewclaws are high on the leg, these will rarely show in the track of a fallow unless they are moving at great speed on a suitable ground surface. At its usual gait you will notice that they will direct register, as this guy is doing here.
Lastly, and harder to make out in the dark a Roe Capreolus Capreolus Buck appears. It is harder to pick out the features here as he is further away but a great excerice in identification as it is realistic of light conditions you may be observing in. The classic indicators are present in that there is no clearly visible tail, note the beautiful long neck, and the antlers grow like no other species, the hind legs are long and spindly and lift backwards in the normal gait, a trait specific to the Roe. We were able to pick out his tracks and clearly mark them as Roe rather than Fallow (they can be easily confused) as each hoof is wider spaced at the rear of each print, the Fallow hoofs are more in line and closer although generally a larger print with a full adult Fallow. There is also the clue to his identification that as he looks towards the camera you can make out the outline of his dark mustache and the white spots under his nose… again a classic Roe Indicator.